Rejoice Christian faced some adversity Friday night and head coach Brent Marley feels his team may be better for it.
The No. 2-ranked team in Class A jumped out to 28-point lead but found themselves in a two-score contest against Hominy in second half of the first round of the playoffs. The Eagles answered with a pair of touchdowns and pulled out a 42-19 victory at Rejoice Stadium.
“We had some pockets where we lost some momentum. I was concerned about that,” said Marley, whose team rolled through the regular season largely untested. “Experiencing those moments of adversity could benefit us too.”
With the win, Rejoice (11-0) advances to the second round and will host Wewoka (8-3) at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22.
Nate Anderson ran for 133 yards and three touchdowns. Riley Walker was an efficient 16 of 20 passing for 196 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 59 yards on five carries. Freshman Jay Miller was Walker’s most productive target with five catches for 96 yards and two scores.
Miller capped Rejoice’s opening drive with a 48-yard scoring catch with his second touchdown coming on a 19-yard play in the second quarter. Miller’s touchdowns were sandwiched around a pair of Anderson scoring runs.
The Eagles kept a 28-0 lead going into halftime after they stalled a pair of Hominy drives late in the second quarter.
Despite being held to 12 rushing yards in the first half, the physically-imposing Bucks made some adjustments up front and continued to pound away at the ground game. Shane Brown scored on an 11-yard run and Cliffy Hayes added a 75-yard jaunt as Hominy closed the gap to 28-13 going into the fourth quarter.
Rejoice regrouped as Anderson added his final two touchdowns on runs of 13 and 2 yards. Ben Brown connected on the final two of his six extra-point attempts and the Eagles regained control with a 42-13 lead.